1 Samuel 12:1-13:23; John 7:1-30; Psalm 108:1-13; Proverbs 15:4
I have a confession to make. I’m sure you haven’t been tracking who is talking about what (so you probably haven’t noticed this), but I have actually never written about a proverb before in my bi-weekly postings. I love the Proverbs and I think they are very applicable; I just haven’t exactly known what to say except “so true,” and that didn’t really feel like it was adding too much. =) But today, I was really struck by our Proverbs reading, for two reasons.
First, I love the imagery that a gentle (or some translations read “healing”) tongue is a tree of life. Isn’t that just amazing? The tongue is such a powerful, central force in our lives that it has great potential to be either incredibly destructive or beautifully life-giving. I’m sure you’ve experienced both outcomes, on both the giving and receiving end. I know I have. But what a reminder and encouragement today to use our words to bring joy, to bring life, to bring healing. Gentleness is such a lost art these days – do you feel that? That in the midst of the busyness and the need to be important and productive, we’ve gotten caught up in the brashness and briskness of life? Maybe I feel it more in the race and fury of the LA area in which we live. Regardless, I was truly touched by the idea of my tongue, when it is gentle, bringing forth life, as solidly and as immovably as a tree. So beautiful.
I was also struck by the second part – “perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” Again, this may feel more like an epidemic because I live in Southern California, but I feel like perverse talk is everywhere. Literally, EVERYWHERE. Coarse jokes, crass language, inappropriate conversations, malicious gossip – it is everywhere! Upon first reading, it’s easy to read this portion and see its contrast to the portion above, that when we use our tongue for evil, in perverse ways, then we crush the spirit of those around us. And while I certainly do think that’s true, I began to wonder as I sat with this verse if it isn’t also true in the reverse process.
When my mouth is repeatedly filled with things that are cruel or vulgar or mean-spirited, my own soul is deeply affected. I am brought down and discouraged by the negativity and wickedness coming out of my own mouth. Over time, if we let this behavior continue and become a habit, I truly believe we will literally break our own spirits, not to mention those of everyone around us.
What a reminder today to be gentle with our words, to bring life instead of death, for our own sake, as well as those with whom we do life. Help me, Jesus!
- Esther McCurry
How did God speak to you in Scripture today? Click here to share your reflections on God's word or read past posts. We'd love to hear from you.